Utah Utes 2021 Recruit Michael Mokofisi Highlights

Ryan Kostecka

With the NCAA extending the recruiting dead period all the way until June 30, now is an extremely important to continue to connect with recruits via phone, text, facetime, etc.

Any chance that Utah coaches have to be in contact with recruits, they must take full advantage of it for the upcoming 2021 class as only Peter Costelli (4*, QB), Trey Reynolds (3*, LB) and Tevita Fotu (JC, DL) are the only commits thus far. Creating relationships with the prospects and setting up on-campus visits for when the dead period ends will be vital if head coach Kyle Whittingham and his staff want to build on the success of the program's greatest recruiting class when the Utes finished with the No. 29 class in the country last year.

"We feel really good about this class," Whittingham said after the singing of the 2020 class. "Our net has been cast fairly wide now and we have guys from all over the country. More than anything though, we are now able to stand toe-to-toe and win some of these battles with high profile schools. If you look at our recruits and their offers, we are beating some really good schools - schools we couldn't even be in the conversation with six or seven years ago."

Now we are going to look at some of Utah's top targets in the 2021 class...

MICHAEL MOKOFISI
*3-star, Defensive Tackle
*6-foot-3, 300-pounds
*Woods Cross HS — Woods Cross, UT

Mokofisi is an animal in the middle of the defensive line — and thats the best way to describe him. He plays with a certain physicality and nastiness that is strongly coveted by the Utes' coaching staff.

Physically, it's shocking that he checks in at 300 pounds because he not only carries the weight well, he displays grace and athleticism that allows him to track down ball carriers. He looks as if he could add on another 15-20 pounds and still maintain his high level of athleticism.

Right now, he gets away with a lot at the high school level because he's bigger and stronger than his opponents — but that won't necessarily be the case in college. Mokofisi really needs to focus on his footwork and technique if he is going to take the next step forward in his development.

He tends to play with his pad level way too high and struggles with his footwork and leverage when being double-teamed. One-on-one coverage and he's very difficult to block, but he can easily get off balance and pushed out of the away by a double team. He initially does a good job of shedding blockers, but will often get out of position to do so. He also needs to get stronger, which should happen once he gets into a collegiate weightlifting program.

Heading into the upcoming season, the defensive tackle position is wide open as the Utes lost Leki Fotu and John Penisini to the NFL. Seniors Hauati Pututau and Viane Moala have the most experience while senior Pita Tonga and sophomore Fua Pututau have shown some potential. 

This is a position that will most likely have a revolving door of players until the coaching staff feels comfortable with a core two starters and two or three more to add depth. The Utes did add three-star recruit Keanu Tanuvasa in the 2020 class but he's seen as a project who could contribute later on in his career.

There is a lot to like about his raw potential as he will remind Utah fans of Fotu, an extremely athletic defensive tackle who was still figuring out the finer points of the game and the position when he arrived on campus. Mokofisi best projects as a backup to begin his career but could really emerge during his junior and senior seasons if things start clicking.

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